Sunday, October 01, 2006

Fall's Final Days in the Vegetable Garden

Saturday, we began the process of putting the vegetable garden to bed. We have yet to have a frost, but we've had two pretty cold nights, cold enough to nip some of the leaves of the tomato, bean and squash plants. We picked a heap of beans a few weeks ago, freezing some and putting up two batches of dilly beans, one of my favorites. After Friday night's brush with frost, it was time to pick the remaining beans, dig the potatoes, and harvest any other remaining vegetables.

We also decided that with the end of the garden, it was time to let the chickens have the run of the vegetable garden, and to re-seed their run with grass and let it rest.

First, we harvested all the Swiss Chard -- that could have stayed for a while longer, but was in the way of the alternate door of Henbogle coop. It was gorgeous, one of the garden successes this year. We grew the Rainbow Lights variety, and it really is beautiful, with a nice, mild flavor.

With the chard gone, we let the chickens in the garden. They were ecstatic, exploring under the bean tepees, patrolling the remaining cauliflower for any errant bugs, and when I dug the potatoes -- well, they were right there eating
any bug that came to light. I had all I could do to avoid digging up a chicken.

Entertaining the girls was the best part of the potato harvest this year. I planted 4 types of potatoes, Finn, Carola, Rose Gold, and LaRatte. The Finns and Carolas were a total washout, the very rainy June just turned them into mush. I planted the Rose Gold and LaRatte later, and we did harvest some, but not many, sigh. We harvested enough for 4-5 meals. It was just too wet for them to thrive, although the tops looked good. Our new garden plan will include lots of clay-breaking soil amendments this fall, and raised beds in an attempt to keep the feet dry of our vegetables.

We had a good crop of green peppers, unfortunately all ready now, rather than 1-2 a week beginning a month ago. Still, we'll eat them and enjoy. And the beans, oh, the beans,
We picked a huge basketfull, and if the plants don't get hit again with a frost, we may get more still. We had a huge feast Saturday night, with scallops from the freezer (to make room), beans and freshly dug potatoes. MMMMMMM!

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